Nelson's Santa wore a red korowai and graced his sleigh with a microphone and taiaha.
The non-traditional Santa outfit has split Nelsonians, with one little girl remarking, "it's definitely not Santa".
She had just spotted the man in the big red suit sitting in his sleigh, except, he wasn't wearing his big red suit.
A video of Santa's float shows Father Christmas missing even his trademark hat.
The woman who shot the video told the Herald she had waited for Santa's float but "never realised it was Santa".
"I'm 75 years old today as well lol. Tricked at my age. How's that."
The big man should always be wearing a traditional costume, she said.
"The children I saw just did not accept the person on the sleigh as their beloved Santa."
Facebook users took to the Nelson Santa Parade page to share their opinions, most comments focusing on the star of the show never turning up.
"It's like going to a beer fest and there is no beer. There will be dissatisfaction. Go to a Santa parade and no Santa is very very sad," one Facebook user wrote.
"I'm pleased I never took my children to the very non-Santa parade, Nelson gets more pathetic & embarrassing each year," another said.
However, other Facebook users defended the parade for using a Māori Santa without the traditional Santa kit.
"Who dictates what Santa looks like? He is actually depicted very different in different cultures. Good on you Nelson for embracing kiwi culture," one said.
"Santa is not real, people. How long are we going to keep up with the lie to our impressionable children and stop supporting commercialism?" a user asked.
"It's time to give it a new name to embrace the magic of coming together and giving the gift of our presence at this time of the year. Time for change."
Another said it was "bout time they had a Māori Santa!!!"
The Herald is seeking comment from parade organisers.